The EU shall continue supporting low-TRL collaborative and interdisciplinary research in the post-2020 R&I Programme (Horizon Europe) with dedicated instruments and funding schemes, taking into account the lessons drawn from the Horizon 2020 Future Emerging Technologies Programme, according to experts and policymakers who gathered in Brussels last January 31.
The High-Level Roundtable “Deep-Science, Deep-Tech, Deep-Mind: The Role of Emerging Technologies and Innovation Ecosystems in Horizon Europe” was organised by APRE – Italian Agency for the Promotion of European Research and CNR – National Research Council of Italy, in collaboration with the European Commission. The workshop gathered more than 50 participants from European institutions, Member States and Associated Countries delegates, experts from academia, research and industrial associations, including Thomas Skordas, (Director ‘Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure’ at European Commission DG Connect), Neville Reeve (Policy Development and Coordination at European Commission DG Research & Innovation) and Tommaso Calarco (Director of the Institute for Quantum Control of the Peter Grünberg Institute at Forschungszentrum Jülich).
The round-table was the occasion to stimulate a debate around the relevance of interdisciplinary and collaborative breakthrough research and innovation, and modalities for effective continuation within Horizon Europe, while the legislative process of the dossier is ongoing at interinstitutional negotiations level. Participants also discussed trends towards deep-tech in the current and next EU R&I Programmes and implications at project and programme level.
Some key recommendations emerged from the stakeholder debate and were summarised in a report. Participants reaffirmed the importance to have a dedicated window for interdisciplinary and collaborative breakthrough research with a bottom-up approach in Horizon Europe’s structure, built on the model of the Horizon 2020 FET Open scheme. In this respect, a strong emphasis was put on the risk that the shift of FET scheme from the science-oriented pillar to the new European Innovation Council Pathfinder might distort the nature of the support.
FET Flagships were recognised as an excellent instrument in strengthening S&T cooperation between the Union and its partners, unifying the R&I community and Member States around a common research agenda and delivering benefits for society in a jointly coordinated effort. Participants requested that the current Horizon 2020 FET Flagships (Human Brain Project, Graphene, Quantum Technologies) should be maintained as such in Horizon Europe, while arguing that current CSA Preparatory Actions for future FET Flagships, which will start at the beginning of March, might be considered for continuation in the form of other EU R&I instruments, namely R&I Missions or Institutional Partnerships